Meet Sarah Forsterling, the talented lady heading up our most cutting-edge service line yet: Digital Transformation. While this BIG news was announced with flare on B&T, here’s your chance to get to really know Sarah: she’s just as impressive – having led digital transformation in organisations such as Save the Children, Coles and NAB – but much more down to earth.
The start of it all…
I was spoilt in that I was introduced to a new way of doing business from the very beginning. I came straight out of uni, and instead of going into a traditional grad position in a corporate giant like most of my friends, I went into a small startup.
Here I was on the edge of something great. Not only did I work on multiple small tech businesses, but I worked in a culture where it was all about the output, rather than completing an individual role, and because of this I thrived and gained skills across a variety of roles from product selection, starting an e-commerce store, to writing foodie blogs.
From an agile startup to a slow moving organisation
When I moved into a role in digital at Save the Children in 2008, I noticed the differences in culture immediately. I had been working in a way that was adaptable, flexible and simplistic, and now at Save the Children the tools, technology and expectations were as outdated as the norms that underpinned them, like most big organisations.
This was an organisation that was directly impacting human lives and should be running more efficiently and more effectively than most. Yet without the internal structures, the external outputs could not possibly be up to scratch. Especially in disaster zones, the chasm between the people out in the field and the head office was gaping. It was a real eye opener to me, and it was the first time that I saw that something had to change.
So I took the knowledge I’d learnt at the startup and introduced it at Save the Children in the form of a new a technology communication tool: Yammer. In Yammer I saw an opportunity to cut out the convoluted communication steps and make for a more connected and efficient team.
Yammer-time: the tech startup dream
After introducing Yammer to Save the Children, I was approached by Yammer to be one of their first employees in Asia, managing all their clients across government, banking, finance, retail and NFP industries.
If you can imagine a typical tech startup in Silicon Valley (basically picture any movie you’ve ever seen), it was exactly that: Engineers drinking whisky, a fully stocked beer fridge, employees riding around on scooters.
It was also fast paced, with fluid working hours and most of the team worked remotely while remaining highly insync. It was this incredible high-functioning organ born in the cloud that empowered other organisations to achieve their business goals.
In 2012, the small, agile and well-oiled machine of Yammer was acquired by Microsoft for $1.2 billion! What an experience to be taken over by one of the biggest tech giants in the world. As well as going from macs to PCs, and becoming just one cog of many in a giant organisation, Microsoft wanted to expand Yammer’s footprint into Latin America, and I was chosen to lead its expansion into the region. I started as its only employee in Latin America, but soon we were a team of 5 promoting Yammer in a very traditional, male-centric, title-driven culture.
Why real transformation is on the inside
From my experience, the greatest obstruction to digital transformation is fear of change and an aversion to risk. And that’s why culture is integral in true digital transformation and why we mean it when we say ‘change happens from the inside out’.
I saw firsthand the impact of internal change on how you connect your brand with customers and improve the efficiency of your service and products in large brands like NAB, Telstra and Coles. Digital tools like Yammer, disrupt the traditional chain of command, making for a much quicker, smoother and flexible model. Yet underpinning it all is a culture that encourages experimentation, nurtures innovators and doesn’t see failure as something to be feared, but rather something to learn from.
Me and ntegrity
ntegrity’s focus on true transformative change is what first attracted me to them. They stand out in an industry that is saturated with bandaid campaigns. They also have values I actually believe in, a model of empowerment I stand by, and a remarkable female leader, which is rare to come by in tech. Plus I get to pioneer true digital transformation in Australia with a holistic approach.
There’s nowhere else I’d rather be!
If you’d like to know more about what digital transformation could look like for your organisation, or would rather chat about the cliches of Silicon Valley, then get in touch!